The healthcare reform brouhaha that now engulfs the USA is a cosmic in-joke. It is pointing our attention to the fact that the country itself is deathly ill.
In Soul-Sick Nation I make the case that the USA is one sick puppy. If we’re trying to understand why this country is careening so wildly off-track, I propose that in the end we will find it more useful to see the nation as a living entity struggling to heal, than to condemn it and rage against it.
In our darkest hour, during the Bush years, it was tempting to characterize men like Cheney and Rove as Darth Vader figures; certainly they were typecast for the role. But such evaluations belonged to Pluto in Sagittarius (Right vs. Wrong, Good vs. Evil, etc.); and that transit is over. Righteous ethical judgments are no longer the point.
We are in the Pluto-in-Capricorn years now. It's all about systems collapsing in order to be rebuilt.
In asking What should be done about mass illness? the transits overhead are making things nice and obvious. Americans are being invited to admit that their country is sick as a dog, and that a social infrastructure (Capricorn) is needed to handle the problem pragmatically and efficiently.
To heal, one needs a candid diagnosis. But right now the diagnosis is getting lost amidst a virulent wave of obstructionism. Fueling the backlash to health care reform is anger and fear, stoking itself into a froth of denial. The hysteria we are witnessing in certain sectors of the populace, whipped up by corporate interests through bought-and-sold fake-news pundits, is so intense that the ruckus threatens to drown out the real problem: the illness at the country’s core. At the moment, like a stubborn old patient refusing to admit he has a deafness problem Uncle Sam is flailing away at those who would give him a hearing aid.
We knew 2009 would be a year of David-and-Goliath battles. Pluto and Mars were conjunct in the sky on New Year’s Day. Now, during these last few days of August, the two are opposed.
Pluto governs the giant in the Bible story, as well as the mafia, and all other agencies based on absolute control maintained through fear. The giant in the current scenario is a web of cartels with the insurance industry at the center: a complex behemoth whose financial and political resources give it preternatural power over people at their most vulnerable; i.e. when physically incapacitated. Big Insurance, joined at the hip to Big Pharma, is now pulling out all the stops to crush the campaign that seeks to address the most primal and obvious national goal imaginable: that of a civilized country taking care of its infirm citizens.
Astrological symbolism can help us understand the power of this giant. Pluto is associated with extortion. The American insurance industry is a multi-billion-dollar example of a legalized protection racket: a white-collar, mass-market shakedown. As Michael Moore’s “Sicko” made clear (this movie should be required viewing for anyone signing up to speak at a town hall meeting), Big Insurance has so far neutralized all threats to itself by pumping millions of dollars into the coffers of congresspersons who might otherwise have pushed for reform.
The last time I saw the figures, Hillary Clinton was at the very top of this shameful list. This is the woman, remember, whose sweeping reform proposals were strangled in the crib by the insurance lobby during her husband’s first administration. A few years later, she went over to the other side. To get herself into the Senate she accepted more hush money than anyone else in Congress.
Consider how the national mood (Neptune conjunction to the US Moon) has changed over the past few months. Just after the election, Americans were sighing with relief at the prospect, better late than never, of this critically necessary feature of Obama’s agenda. Since then the reform bill’s supporters have been incrementally watering down its key tenets, losing nerve by the month like a lone dog cornered by the pack. A few weeks back, Obama shifted his main focus from insuring the uninsured to protecting the coverage of those who already have it. At this writing Congress is touting a fix that would leave 1/6 of the population out in the cold.
The dysfunction of American healthcare inspires incredulity all over the globe. At this point, one can only imagine how baffled international observers must be, watching the victims themselves – rank-and-file Americans -- arguing against changing the system.
What is going through the minds of these distressed citizens who stand up at public meetings expressing their fear that, if the government steps in, private insurers will lose out? I am trying to grasp the logic here. Are we to understand that these regular folks are worried about the safety of Blue Cross's obscene quarterly earnings? Why are these Davids shilling for Goliath?
At first I wondered whether these champions of the status quo were lost in some Marcus Welby fantasy. Maybe, I thought, they're imagining that dear old country doctors are at risk of being put out to pasture by the forces of federal power. But no. These protestors seem well aware that for-profit cartels are the new face of healthcare. Their crusade really does seem intended to safeguard the right of insurance companies to get as rich as they can.
Here we have Neptunian deception at its foggiest, and Plutonian brainwashing at its most insidious. Unless these "ordinary citizens" are fronts for the insurance industry (on which point the jury is still out), their defense of the plutocrats who are bleeding us all dry can only be read as one more symptom of our over-arching national disease: ignorance. A stupefying ignorance of the forces at work in the USA is showing up, in this instance, as the unfounded, unstated equation of patriotism with capitalism. From all appearances, the town-hall disrupters see “free enterprise” as the very cornerstone of democracy: a noble ideal to be championed at all costs, despite the fact that it enriches a tiny elite at the expense of the commonwealth.
Meanwhile, gleefully cheering on these loathsome proceedings is Fox News, whose coverage of the “town hall meetings” last week was sponsored by – wait for it -- an insurance company. It amazed me that nobody in Fox's PR department deemed it imprudent to display the sponsor’s logo right there on the screen, revealing for all to see that Goliath was behind the broadcast.
The stink of an uncovered wound offers clues to its healing. We are watching the exposition of a process that has been allowed to fester for decades. Though it is a natural human response to want to turn away in disgust, the big picture provided by astrology reminds us that repulsion (Pluto) is a great galvanizer (Uranus). As these planets move into their T-square with Saturn, the truth is coming out and the populace is being energized.
Sometimes people get confused and angry when roused from sleep. Waking up is a complicated process.